Another winter is here, while some shudder at the thought of snow fall, I embrace the season of change, as winter migrants make their return to our area.
Only 10 inches tall and well-camouflaged, the Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) is more often heard than seen. In Missouri, its body can either be gray all over, brown and red (rufous) as is the one pictured. All three color phases make the Eastern Screech Owl very difficult to see against the bark of trees, where it lives. In addition to large ear tufts, the little owl has large yellow eyes and a yellow beak.
Where do you find them? Well, that is the fun part – As long as there are trees with cavities for nesting, the Eastern Screech Owl might be there. It is found in almost all habitats below 4900 feet in elevation, including urban, suburban, and heavily forested areas. The Eastern Screech Owl easily acclimates to human presence and will use bird boxes for nesting. and from my observation, this particular one seems a bit shy; did his best to avoid being seen.
Conservation Status: Still widespread and fairly common, but thought to have been gradually declining in various parts of the range. Helped in some areas by provision of nest boxes. Reference source – https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/eastern-screech-owl
Until the next adventure.
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